KOTA KINABALU: There has been “tremendous” response to the Sabah-Malaysia My Second Home (Sabah MM2H) programme even though it has not received approval from the federal government, says Datuk Christina Liew.

According to the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, reception to the programme has been overwhelming since the state started accepting applications on Monday (July 1).

“The response has been tremendous,” she told reporters after witnessing AirAsia and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) inking a strategic partnership to boost the tourism industry here on Thursday (July 4).

“We have received inquiries from all over, especially South-East Asia… even Americans (are asking),” she said.

Liew said she did not have exact application figures but said that was in the hundreds to a thousand.

“Not every application will be approved, it depends if they fulfil the conditions,” she said, adding that she was thankful to the federal Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry for their existence.

The federal ministry issued a statement earlier, saying it had never received and approved any criteria for the Sabah MM2H programme, adding that the state had launched it unilaterally.

The federal ministry also said it hoped any further decisions by the Sabah on its MM2H programme should adhere to rules and regulations under the Tourism Industry Act 1992 (Act 482).

Sabah launched its Sabah MM2H programme last Sunday (June 30).